Song:The Way It Is
Album:Greatest Radio Hits
The 1986 chart topper The Way It Is was the very first single for Bruce Hornsby & The Range. He also won the Best New Artist Grammy. But he has never repeated that commercial success so I think it's fair to say that it was a fluke. I don't think Hornsby ever expected a hit like that so I'm sure he doesn't care. In recent years he has toured with his band The Noisemakers and solo. Hornsby was born Nov. 23, 1954 in Williansburg, VA. His father was a part time musician and so are his two brothers. He studied music at the University of Richmond, Berklee and the University of Miami. While in school, he played in his brother's cover band Bobby Hi-Test and the Octane Kids. After his 1977 graduation from Miami, Hornsby moved back to Williamsburg and played clubs. In 1980, he moved to Los Angeles with his brother and songwriting partner John Hornsby. They had a publishing deal with 20th Century Fox. Hornsby also played sessions and toured in Sheena Easton's band. Hornsby moved back to Williamsburg and formed Bruce Hornsby & The Range with David Mansfield and George Marinelli on guitar, former Ambrosia member Joe Puerta on bass and John Molo on drums. They signed with RCA Records and the first single The Way It Is topped the charts in 1986. The song is liberal political commentary but it seems mild especially compared to real protest singers of the 60s like Phil Ochs. His next single Mandolin Rain hit the top five. Hornsby and his brother John wrote most of the band's songs. And they won the 1987 Best New Artist Grammy. I was never a big Hornsby fan. He's a good musician and his music is competent. But it's also kind of blah. Peter Harris replaced Mansfield for the 1988 album Scenes From The Southside. It didn't do as well as the first album. So Bruce Hornsby & The Range only recorded one more album in 1990. And by that time, Hornsby had joined The Grateful Dead and started writing for other artists and playing sessions. This budget comp covers his early recordings. Hornsby first recorded solo in 1993. He started adding jazz elements to his music. He formed The Noisemakers in 2000 and they have recorded four CDs. In 2007, he recorded with bluegrass artist Ricky Skaggs and they toured together. They recently recorded a live CD and have been touring together. And Hornsby is doing solo piano concerts. He is performing solo at Koerner Hall in Toronto next week. I think Bruce Hornsby is a lot happier playing jazz and bluegrass than trying to have another radio hit. Here's the video for The Way It Is by Bruce Hornsby & The Range.